I tried the GoPro for a while and there were several things I didn't like about it, or where I felt it fell short.
I'm now looking at buying one of the "tough" cameras produced by almost all of the major camera manufacturers which have several advantages over something like the GoPro or the ATC3K.
Things I didn't like about the GoPro are...
- The weight on my head when used on the helmet (could cause my helmet to shift).
- No screen, so you can only review footage once transferred to the computer. Transferring also takes a long time. You can get an add-on screen now, but this will add bulk and weight.
- No zoom, so for instance the wide angle cannot even show red-light runners, as the lights on the far side of the intersection (perpendicular to my direction), are too far away to show up on the video.
- Menus are difficult to use and you have to remember the abbreviations they use.
- The square shape is bulky. I didn't try it strapped to my arm because it would be too uncomfortable whilst cycling.
- The handlebar mounts are kind of bulky and can be fiddly to fit.
- It interfered with my wireless speedo when mounted right next to it (the speedo numbers went haywire).
- Enclosure can fog up requiring the purchase of, and fiddling with, anti-fog inserts.
Olympus, Panasonic, Sony, Canon, Nikon, Fuji and Toshiba all produce "tough" cameras that are resistant to water, shock, dust and so on to varying degrees.
Of course the models vary but typically they have these advantages over the GoPro or ATC3K
- HD video (either 720p or 1080p)
- Screen! Particularly important for reviewing before transferring to a computer (which can take a long time), but also for framing the shot!
- The screen also means you can use the camera for other things such as holidays, snorkelling etc. The GoPro is limited in that sense.
- Optical zoom (not the Toshiba)
- Optical image stabilisation (each model differs).
- Far greater customisation of shooting settings (except for lower end like the Toshiba).
- Usually slimmer form factor. Not so bulky. No need for external enclosure that can fog up.
- Longer record times (than ATC3K). (check each model for differences).
- Typically better lens, sensor and image processing quality from the larger photographic companies. (this is a bit of a blanket statement, so make your own judgements about quality, or check trusted reviews).
- Quite a few have GPS now if you're interested in Geotagging or mapping.
I haven't bought one of these yet (but I will be) so check the reviews and specifications and make your own decisions of course. I may post a table of comparison specs here if I do my own comparison table.
The come for a variety of budgets from about $100 for the Toshiba, up to $400 or more for the Panasonic.
My interest is for problems with motorists but also recording interesting stuff while touring. It is not always possible to stop and take photos or video. Another application is for contributing to Open Cycle Map which is a whole other topic in itself, but is a brilliant project. Check it out!
Next is, how to mount it to the bike? I found http://www.rigidmount.com/ which have some mounts that allow you to mount a standard digital compact to your bike using the tripod mount found on almost all compact digital cameras. They also have some general information about what to look for in a camera, how to edit video and remove shake etc. See the "Information" menu on that site.